The Long Island Rail Road will close the Colonial Road Bridge on Monday so contractors can begin the $24.9 million project to replace the 115 year-old bridge.
The bridge will be closed for about a year, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said in a statement.
The replacement of the bridge is part of a larger project in the Village of Thomaston that includes improved drainage at track level, landscaping and the extension of an existing pocket track used to turn trains around.
“The improvements will not only provide the community with a safer bridge, the extended pocket track will enable the LIRR to turn trains faster and provide better rush hour service from Great Neck and stations west of Great Neck on the busy Port Washington Branch,” LIRR President Patrick Nowkowski said in a statement.
The MTA has said the replacement of the bridge is essential to the East Side Access project, which will bring the LIRR straight into Grand Central Station in Manhattan. The project, which the MTA says is still about seven years away, will cut the travel time of commuters who work on Manhattan’s east side by 20 to 30 minutes when completed.
The MTA has said they will work with local municipalities along the LIRR line to expand parking, but that it is up to the municipality to determine if they want help.
“Despite the inconvenience of the closing of Colonial Road to vehicular traffic, the need for infrastructure improvement, especially bridge reconstruction, is critical to the safety of a community,” state Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel (D-Great Neck) said in a statement. “As bridges across the nation are deteriorating and not meeting safety standards because of lack of funding, the Colonial Road Improvement Project stands apart. There will be a new state-of-the-art bridge, improvements to drainage problems, and better LIRR train service from Great Neck.”
The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018.
Most of the work will be done on weekdays but some work will be done overnight the weekend of June 19 through the 22, the MTA said in a statement, to demolish the bridge and during two unspecified weekends in the fall for the installation of the new bridge.
“While the closing of the bridge and the construction will impact our village and disturb our residents, we look forward to continuing the dialog with the LIRR to perform the work as quickly as possible, minimizing the disturbance to our community and for the LIRR to continue to be responsive to the needs of our residents and the village,” Village of Thomaston Mayor Steve Weinberg said. “We look forward to the new bridge which will be a major improvement in the transportation infrastructure that goes through our village.”